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EETE MAY 2015

Industry 4.0 unplugged By BSteve Hughes uzzwords fly around in industry like wasps at a picnic. Industry 4.0 is one of these hugely popular concepts, particularly when it comes to manufacturing. The term originated at the Hannover Messe a few of years ago, when it was defined as the computerisation of manufacturing, including a transition to higher levels of interconnectivity, smarter plants and communication between machines and equipment. The first industrial revolution was the development of mechanisation using water and steam power. The second paradigm shift was the introduction of electricity in manufacturing environments, which facilitated the shift to mass production. The digital revolution happened during our lifetime, using electronics and IT to further automate manufacturing. Industry 4.0 is the fourth in this series of industrial revolutions. Although it is still, relatively speaking, in its infancy, the idea relies on sophisticated software and machines that communicate with each other to optimise production. In Industry 4.0, strong emphasis is placed on the role of intelligent factories. They are energy efficient organisations based on high-tech, adaptable and ergonomic production lines. Smart factories aim to integrate customers and business partners, while also being able to manufacture and assemble customised products. Furthermore, tomorrow’s smart plants will most likely be expected to take more autonomous decisions regarding production efficiency and safety. Industry 4.0 is more about machines doing the work and interpreting the data, than relying on human intelligence. The human element is still central to the manufacturing process, but fulfils a control, programming and servicing role rather than a shop floor function. The Siemens (IW 1000/34) Electronic Works facility in Amberg, Germany, is a good example of the next generation of smart plants. The 108,000 square-foot high-tech facility is home to an array of smart machines that coordinate everything from the manufacturing line to the global distribution of the company’s products. The custom, built-to-order process involves more than 1.6 billion components for over 50,000 annual product variations, for which Siemens sources about 10,000 materials from 250 suppliers to make the plant’s 950 different products. This means the amount of data the system has to work with is truly overwhelming. Despite the endless variables within the facility, a Gartner industry study conducted in 2010 found that the plant boasts a reliability rate of more than 99 per cent, with only 15 defects in every million finished products. Thanks to the data processing capacity of Industry 4.0-ready devices, it is possible to generate the information, statistics and trends that allow manufacturers to make their production lean and more fuel efficient. If you work in the food manufacturing industry, you probably know that many production lines today operate at less than 60 per cent, which means there is considerable room for improvement. Saving electricity and water are also key requirements for modern plant managers, who can achieve their eco-friendly goals by using smart plant connectivity. The shift in manufacturing In Germany and the US, governments have already allocated funds for strategic research and the implementation of Industry 4.0. Germany has dedicated €200 million for projects like BMBF’s it’s OWL or RES-COM. Similarly, the USA has launched several initiatives like the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition. Other countries, including the UK, are showing a lot of enthusiasm on the subject. Manufacturers and trade bodies like GAMBICA and the CLPA, have already endorsed the trend. Although no major official initiatives have been made public yet, there is definitely strong support for a move in the general direction of Industry 4.0. The great news is that a lot of the technology associated with Industry 4.0 already exists. The not so great news is that implementing it will probably cost your company a pretty penny, especially if you aim to be an early adaptor. Steve Hughes is the Managing Director of REO UK - www.reo.co.uk PUBLISHER André Rousselot +32 27400053 andre.rousselot@eetimes.be Editor-in-Chief Julien Happich +33 169819476 julien.happich@eetimes.be EDITORS Christoph Hammerschmidt +49 8944450209 chammerschmidt@gmx.net Peter Clarke +44 776 786 55 93 peter.clarke@eetimes.be Paul Buckley +44 1962866460 paul@activewords.co.uk Jean-Pierre Joosting +44 7800548133 jean-pierre.joosting@eetimes.be Circulation & Finance Luc Desimpel luc.desimpel@eetimes.be Advertising Production & Reprints Lydia Gijsegom lydia.gijsegom@eetimes.be Art Manager Jean-Paul Speliers Acounting Ricardo Pinto Ferreira Regional Advertising Representatives Contact information at: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/en/ about/sales-contacts.html ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES EUROPE is published 11 times in 2015 by European Busines Pres SA 7 Avenue Reine Astrid, 1310 La Hulpe, Belgium Tel: +32-2-740 00 50 Fax: +32-2-740 00 59 email: info@eetimes.be. www.electronics-eetimes.com VAT Registration: BE 461.357.437. Company Number: 0461357437 RPM: Nivelles. Volume 17, Issue 5 EE Times P 304128 It is is free to qualified engineers and managers involved in engineering decisions – see: http://www.electronics-eetimes.com/subscribe © 2015 E.B.P. SA All rights reserved. P 304128 european business press 50 Electronic Engineering Times Europe May 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE MAY 2015
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